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Maine to put same-sex marriage referendum on November ballot

A pro-same-sex marriage group in Maine, EqualityMaine [advocacy website], has gathered enough signatures to place a same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] referendum on the November ballot. The question reads: "Do you favor a law allowing marriage licenses for same-sex couples that protects religious freedom by ensuring no religion or clergy be required to perform such a marriage in violation of their religious beliefs?" Same-sex marriage opponents will have 10 days to challenge the signatures [Reuters report] in an attempt to stop the bill from being placed on the ballot. In 2009, the Maine legislature passed a same-sex marriage bill, but voters chose to overturn the measure [JURIST report] by voting in a referendum much like the one planned for November. EqualityMaine now expects that voters will pass the same-sex bill by more than ten percent.

Recently, there has been a nationwide push towards acceptance of same-sex marriage. Earlier this week, the Maryland Senate passed a same-sex marriage bill [JURIST report], sending it to the governor. Also this week, Washington state legalized same-sex marriage [JURIST report] after Governor Christine Gregoire signed the legislation. New Jersey is also considering legalizing same-sex marriage soon, although it currently has a civil union system in place. Governor Chris Christie conditionally vetoed a same-sex marriage bill [JURIST report] last week and called for a voter referendum to decide the issue, rather than the state legislature. Same-sex marriage has also been legalized in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia [JURIST reports].

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About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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